An online petition on the crowdsourcing campaign platform Change.org demands press freedom in the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) region which is facing an unprecedented unrest because of Indian government’s arbitrary decision to change the constitutional status of J&K.
The petition addressed to the President of India Ram Nath Kovind and others states that from August 4, 2019, there is a clampdown on mobile phone networks, internet services, and landline phone connectivity which has left Kashmir and some districts in Jammu completely isolated and cut off in terms of communication and information.
[ Also Read: Trump Asks India and Pakistan to Reduce Tension in Kashmir ]
There was a virtual blackout on news and people could not communicate with their families. Journalists too were restricted and constrained from carrying out their duties as a result of which few stories came out of J&K, according to the petition.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed his concern over reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir, which – he said – could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.
The petition argues that in a situation such as that prevailing in J&K at present, the role of free media, unhindered by such restrictions, becomes critically important in helping dissemination of news.
The petition – which has been signed by more than 60,000 people urges to support the demand to lift the internet blackout and other curbs in J&K immediately.
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